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Q&A

How to make selection and overwrite from register all from ex mode

+2
−0

MWE

line 1
line 2
line 3
line 4
line 5
line 6
line 7
  1. Go to "line 4": /line 4 ENT.
  2. Delete into register: dd.
  3. Replace everything with register using only ex mode. (Non-ex equivalent: gg V G p.)
line 4

Problem

I am uncertain how to proceed with Step 3. I would assume it's something like :-3,+2v | p, with relative line numbering, but that doesn't work.

Notes

I understand in this example you can take the approach of deleting everything but line 4, but that's not what I'm looking for. This is just an example, the use case is more complex.

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1 answer

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If you know the normal mode key sequence to achieve the desired result, you can always feed it to the ex-mode normal command.

Step 3 translates to

:norm ggVGp

See the documentation in :help :norm,

:norm[al][!] {commands}			*:norm* *:normal*
	Execute Normal mode commands {commands}.  This makes
	it possible to execute Normal mode commands typed on
	the command-line.  {commands} are executed like they
	are typed.

You could also combine :d and :put,

:%d|pu!2
  • % is a range that means "all lines".
  • d, short for delete, deletes all in that range.
  • | is the command separator.
  • pu, short for put, inserts text from register 2.

line 4 turns up in register 2 after being displaced from register 1 by the remaining lines deleted by %d.

That would leave an empty line behind, so a pedantically correct answer would be

:%d|pu!2|$d
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